Woman's 'stressful' Kmart shop prompts warning about dog

Brianne Tolj
·3-min read

A woman has urged people to be wary of their behaviour around service dogs after a stressful Kmart shopping trip earlier this week.

Donna Marie Linney, from Queensland, said on Facebook she was browsing at the store on Wednesday when a woman approached her assistance dog Shiloh and began talking to her.

Ms Linney said Shiloh still has a couple of years left in training and the distraction left them both frazzled.

“I had to be quite firm in redirecting Shiloh’s attention back on her job. It came very close to having pretty serious consequences for me shortly after as the PTSD for me has been quite stressful these last few days,” she said.

“I depend on Shiloh to alert me when my stress levels become elevated, had my anxiety hit 10 minutes earlier with this lady's baby talk, Shiloh would have been too distracted to alert me.”

Shiloh, the service dog
Ms Linney has urged people to be wary of their behaviour around service dogs after a stressful Kmart shopping trip earlier this week. Source: Facebook

'Talk to me, not the dog', says owner

Ms Linney said Shiloh’s vest says to please ignore her since she is working, but that this is a common occurrence for a lot of service dog handlers and owners.

“Not all disabilities are visible. If I were in a wheelchair I wouldn’t like to think someone would come up and take the wheel off it while in use,” she said, adding that she encourages people to stop and chat, just to ignore Shiloh.

“I’m quite an approachable person and have no problem sharing with people the great job Shiloh does, however it is a major problem when people want to get her attention,” Ms Linney wrote.

Later the same day, Ms Linney said she heard a young girl at a chemist ask her mum about Shiloh.

She said she was “most grateful” to the mum for her response, whose advice to the young girl was not to distract the working dog.

Numerous people took to the Facebook post to thank Ms Linney for her thoughtful words.

A customer walks toward a hand sanitiser dispenser at a Kmart store in Sydney. Source: Getty
The customer said she was browsing at one of Kmart's stores when a woman approached her assistance dog Shiloh and began talking to her. Source: Getty

“Would like to see more public education about this. I always ignore these dogs, hard sometimes, but a lot of people don’t realise,” one woman said.

“I’m sure the attention is well intended from the passer-by but I fully understand your frustration in [people] ignoring the very obvious sign to not interact with your lovely dog,” another wrote.

“Education is what is sorely needed and posts like this open discussion to help people have a better understanding,” a man said.

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